|Publication number||US7458179 B2|
|Application number||US 11/085,858|
|Publication date||Dec 2, 2008|
|Filing date||Mar 22, 2005|
|Priority date||Mar 26, 2004|
|Also published as||US20050241211|
|Publication number||085858, 11085858, US 7458179 B2, US 7458179B2, US-B2-7458179, US7458179 B2, US7458179B2|
|Inventors||Richard E. Swan|
|Original Assignee||Swan Richard E|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (25), Referenced by (46), Classifications (8), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is related to and claims priority from earlier filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/556,568, filed Mar. 26, 2004.
The present invention relates generally to modular attachment systems for weapons. More specifically, the present invention relates to a modular panel system that is integrated to mount onto an accessory rail system in order to interface additional equipment onto a firearm or another support structure.
As the field of combat and commercial weaponry expands, numerous add-on enhancements have become available for attachment to standard firearms, thereby significantly upgrading the capability of the firearm. Various methods and means have been developed for interfacing these various add-on enhancements to a wide array of firearms. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,845,871 discloses a quickly detachable-interface means for modular enhancements. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,142,806 discloses a universal receiver sleeve having an upper interface portion with standard, universal dimensions that are modular and configured to receive any accessory mount while the receiver sleeve further includes a lower interface portion that is specific to the particular firearm with which it will be employed. Another interface means is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,343,650 where an extended rigid interface frame including upper and lower rails is shown. The interface frame is joined to a firearm receiver where a yoke braces the extended rigid frame receiver sleeve to the forward portion of the firearm's receiver. The interface frame extends forward around the firearm's barrel between the front of the receiver and a head assembly that is attached on the front end of the barrel thereby replacing the firearm's normal front sight. A weaver type interface rail is provided both above and below the barrel from the head assembly to the receiver. In
Some types of rigid interface frames are supported entirely by the yoke at the front of the receiver. In this case, the distal end of the extended rigid frame terminates in a front sight housing, which connects the upper and lower rails and provides a housing for advanced laser and sensor components and the standard front sight bead. The front sight housing is self-supported by the connection of the upper and lower rails running back to the yoke and secured to the top of the receiver. In this manner, the barrel of the rifle is free floating in that it does not touch the extended rigid frame in any manner. This permits greater shooting accuracy and protects sensitive electrical components within the front sight housing by isolating the front sight housing from the heat generated from the barrel.
Although the principles of the above-identified patented devices are generally applicable to all firearms, the specific firearm example identified in each patent was the U.S. military M16 rifle and carbine. The M16 has been in service for a number of years and will continue to be a popular rifle both in the U.S. military and foreign military for the foreseeable future. However, with the increasing development and refinement of laser technology and other technologies, it has become highly desirable to integrate the ability to mount modular attachments onto and into firearms.
As can be appreciated, the problem with integrating modular attachments onto firearms is the inherent conflict between a gun barrel's physical functioning and the additional weight and/or shocks that may be introduced thereto resulting from the attachment of additional accessories. To obtain the best and most reliable performance, a gun barrel should be physically isolated, i.e., “floating”. It is preferred that nothing be attached to the gun barrel, thereby isolating the barrel physically and eliminating bending and “droop” along the barrel's longitudinal axis. The ideal mounting arrangement for modular attachments, therefore, is one where the attachment is completely isolated from the gun barrel. This isolation serves two functional purposes. First, during operation, the temperature of a gun barrel can rise to 900.degree. F. This type of heat, as well as the physical shock transferred through the gun barrel during firing, can damage or destroy any attachments that are mounted in direct contact with the barrel. The heat generated by the gun barrel is transferred to any devices mounted thereon, resulting in the direct transfer of enough heat to burn a user's hands and interfere with the operation of any attachments. The second issue compounding this problem is the requirement that in order to support the loads imposed by mounting attachments to the barrel of the firearm, the barrels need be extra heavy to support the added weight and shock forces. For example, a grenade launcher attachment not only introduces additional weight to the barrel, it also introduces substantial recoil in operation. This recoil force is transferred into the firearm through the attachment of the grenade launcher to the barrel. This in turn means more cantilevered stress on the barrel where it is joined with the M-16's aluminum receiver. The combination of heat and force applied to the barrel in this manner tends to pull the barrel chamber out of alignment with the bolt lead, thereby causing bolt lug and extractor failure, ultimately jamming the firearm.
There is thus a need for a unique modular support design for mounting accessories to a firearm that serves to support the accessory without introducing loads or additional stresses into the barrel of the firearm. There is an additional need for such a modular support to have a large stable interface in order to support heavier accessories such as a grenade launcher. Further, there is a need for providing a means for retrofitting preexisting equipment to facilitate integration with a modular support system thereby allowing for easy mounting, removal and interchangeability.
In this regard, the present invention provides a modular interface system for mounting accessory devices onto other primary devices, such as for example, mounting a secondary grenade launcher onto an M16 rifle. As such, the general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new and improved modular interface system for mounting modular accessories onto firearms or other desired mounting locations without requiring that they be attached to, or supported by the gun barrel.
The present invention is disclosed in the context of a Swan universal receiver rail although the teachings herein are applicable to a broad variety of different sleeve and/or rail interface platforms. In general, the present invention utilizes a Swan universal receiver rail assembly as the platform for constructing a modular interface system that allows for the attachment of additional accessories. The present invention will be described in terms of its integration with the three popular formats of rail assemblies, namely rails that include an upper sleeve portion that extends over and attaches to the upper receiver of the firearm, rails that derive their support from the existing firearm barrel nut attachment and rails that utilize a replacement barrel nut.
In the first case, the rail system includes an extended upper sleeve portion that serves to support the rail system by attaching to the upper receiver of the firearm. The upper rear portion of the receiver rail attaches to the top of the receiver of a firearm and generally includes a portion that extends forward above the firearm barrel to a position just short of the firearm front sight. The underside of the rear portion of the rail is fixedly attached to the receiver top. The underside of the forward portion of the rail has an upper accessory mount attached thereto. A removable lower accessory such as a bottom hand guard piece or a modular accessory mounted in accordance with the present invention is fitted about the bottom of the gun barrel and is attached to the upper accessory mount via a unique channel and track system. The upper accessory mount and lower accessory pieces are not physically connected to, or supported in any way by the gun barrel. The upper accessory mount is self-supported by the connection of the rear portion of the rail to the top of receiver.
In the second embodiment, the modular interface system includes an upper accessory mount with a mounting element such as a Swan rail or a flat plate extending along the top thereof, the rear extension portion of the accessory mount that extends over the firearm receiver for connecting the device to a firearm receiver is eliminated. In place of the rearward rail extension, means for interfacing the upper accessory mount with the barrel nut attached to the front of the firearm receiver is provided. The side walls of the upper accessory mount terminate in a channel and track interface that includes mating formations for receiving and retaining the lower accessory in a mounted position. The unique channel and track interface is the feature of the present invention that allows the mounting of lower accessories to the modular interface system.
Finally, as was provided above, the rear portion of the upper accessory mount interface that extends over the firearm upper receiver is eliminated and a replacement barrel nut is utilized, in this manner, the upper accessory mount is attached to the replacement barrel nut using attachment means such as a clamping assembly or fasteners installed directly into the replacement barrel nut.
In each of the embodiments, the upper accessory mount is preferably made up of a universal receiver rail having a top side, an underside and two opposite sides connecting the top side with the underside, the universal receiver rail further including at least a forward portion and optionally rear portion. If the assembly includes the rear rail portion, the underside of the rear portion of the rail is configured to be fixedly attached to the top of a firearm receiver, with the front portion of the rail extending forward above the firearm barrel. The upper accessory mount has opposing side walls that extend downwardly from the bottom of the front portion of the rail. Similarly, if the upper accessory mount is intended for mounting in alternate locations such as onto the side of a vehicle, the rail will not include a rear portion. In this configuration the top of the front portion of the rail will be formed into a Weaver type interface or may be simply flat to allow the accessory interface to be mounted onto a flat surface.
The present invention provides a foundation for integrated laser fire control devices, sensors, communications, and a vast array of quickly attached ancillary devices, such as standard night vision, thermal, shot guns, grenade launchers, and other special systems. In particular, since the upper accessory mount of the present invention has a large platform relative to previous rail mounting systems, it allows the mounting of larger accessories such as grenade launchers. Further the present invention allows for retrofitting accessories with adapter panels to allow existing equipment to be mounted into the modular interface system.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a modular interface system that allows ancillary devices to be removably mounted onto a firearm. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a unique modular interface system designed for mounting lower accessories to a firearm that serves to support the accessory without introducing loads or additional stresses into the barrel of the firearm. It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a modular interface system that includes a large stable interface in order to support heavier accessories such as a grenade launcher. It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a means for retrofitting preexisting equipment to facilitate integration with a modular interface system thereby allowing for easy mounting, removal and interchangeability.
These together with other objects of the invention, along with various features of novelty, which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the invention.
In the drawings which illustrate the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:
Now referring to the drawings, the modular interface system of the present invention is shown and generally illustrated in the figures. Referring first to
It should be appreciated that while the base firearm described herein is an M16/M4 weapon 10, the disclosure of the present invention is applicable to any rifle. While specific components and features of the M16/M4 weapon 10 are described in detail for the purpose of illustration and clarity, any one skilled in the art can easily apply the teachings of the present application to any of the rifles available on the market today.
The newer models of the M16/M4 weapons further include a mil-std 1913 dovetail rail 30 extending along the top of the upper receiver 14. This integrated receiver rail 30 provides a convenient mounting point for many types of enhancement devices such as scopes and other sighting devices. However, space on the upper receiver rail 30 is limited, and many military personnel often have multiple sighting devices. In addition, there are a variety of lighting devices, handgrips, etc. that could also be attached to the weapon for enhanced use of the weapon, but there is simply not enough space on the upper receiver rail 30 to accommodate all of the desired accessories. Accordingly, the increasing development and refinement of laser sights, infrared lighting, visible lighting, night vision, and specialized scopes and magnifiers, and other accessories continues to drive the need for versatile and reliable integration systems that include additional mil-std 1913 dovetail rails or other sturdier interface formats that can support this important equipment and yet stand the test of rugged military use and abuse.
In this context,
It should be appreciated that in the preferred embodiments as described herein, the mating formations are formed as generally T-shaped projections 116 that are slidably received within the mounting channels 112, 114. In this manner, the mounting channels 112,114 are used to mount various accessories, such as the lower hand guard accessory 106. Further, the present invention provides, as will be described in detail below, adapter panels for interfacing various other accessories such as a grenade launcher with the upper accessory mount 102. Furthermore, to make the upper hand accessory mount 102 compatible with lower hand guards of prior rail systems produced by the applicant, and to make the mounting and removal of the lower accessory 106 easier, the lower wall of the mounting channels 112,114 are provided with interrupted wall segments 112A, 114A. The provision of the interrupted wall segments 112A, 114A allow for the mounting and removal of a lower accessory 106 without having to slide the lower accessory 106 the entire length of the unbroken mounting channel 112, 114. However, the modular interface system 100 need not include the interrupted wall segments 112A, 114A. The removable hand guard system including the interrupted wall segments and interrupted lug projections are described in greater detail in U.S. Pat. No. 6,499,245, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
In particular, the present invention provides for adapter panels 118 that have a top edge and a bottom edge. The bottom edges of the adapter panels 118 are configured for attachment onto the desired accessory device to be mounted. The lower edges of the adapter panels are attached onto the accessory device preferably by threaded fasteners 122 such as screws, although any other suitable fastener would fall within the scope of the disclosure. Similarly, the housing of the accessory device may be formed to include the adapter panels, as an integrated component such as is the case with the lower hand guard accessory 106. With particular reference to the grenade launcher 120, the lower edges of the adapter panels 118 are fastened to the breech 124 of the grenade launcher 120 with screws 122. Once the adapter panels 118 mounted to the accessory device, the device in turn can then be received onto the upper accessory mount 102. The top edge of the adapter panels 118 includes longitudinal T-shaped projections 116 positioned near to the top edge. In this manner, the adapter panels 118 are configured in a manner that allows them to be mounted into the upper accessory mount 102 by sliding the longitudinal T-shaped projections 116 on the top edge of the adapter panels 118 into the mounting channels 112, 114 on the upper accessory mount 102. The lower accessory 120 is thereby firmly mounted into the modular interface 100 and retained by the upper accessory mount 102 via the adapter panels 118 as is shown in
It can be appreciated that the present invention discloses the use of retrofit adapter panels 118, as there are a great number and variety of previously manufactured devices that a user may wish to integrate into the present modular interface system 100. Turning to the cross-section shown in
Further, while adapter panels 118 are shown, the disclosure is not limited to use with retrofitting existing equipment. Clearly the present modular interface system 100 anticipates use as a standard mount for incorporation into newly manufactured equipment in an integral fashion. The ultimate teaching of the present invention is the provision of a standard interface system that allows the integration of various pieces of equipment in a modular fashion. Further, it provides for example the means to mount a grenade launcher 120 or any other desirable accessory to either a firearm, the side of a helicopter or a tank without requiring any modification. For the applications discussed where the modular interface system 100 is utilized with mounting conditions other than attachment to a firearm 10, numerous upper accessory mounts 102 would simply be mounted in the desired interface locations and the lower accessory 120 moved from one location to the next.
Referring now to
The upper accessory mount 202 includes downwardly extending side walls 210 that terminate at their lower ends with the mounting channels 112, 114 as were described above. The mounting channels are configured to receive the desired lower accessory 120 or adapter panels 118 there by completing the modular interface system.
It can therefore be seen that the present invention provides a unique modular interface system that allows various components of a weapons system to be integrated and reconfigured as desired without modifying the components. Further, the present invention can be utilized as both an OEM type structure or a retrofit system to allow quick and easy integration of various components within a diverse weapons system. For these reasons, the instant invention is believed to represent a significant advancement in the art, which has substantial utility and commercial merit.
While there is shown and described herein certain specific structure embodying the invention, it will be manifest to those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements of the parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept and that the same is not limited to the particular forms herein shown and described except insofar as indicated by the scope of the appended claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4536982 *||Oct 21, 1983||Aug 27, 1985||Colt Industries Operating Corp.||Cylindrical rifle handguard assembly|
|US4733489||May 22, 1987||Mar 29, 1988||R/M Equipment, Inc.||Apparatus for reconfiguring automatic rifle to include grenade launching function|
|US4934085||Dec 20, 1989||Jun 19, 1990||The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Army||Night sight mounting bracket for rocket launcher|
|US4941277||Nov 15, 1988||Jul 17, 1990||Lawlor Joseph A||Mount for firearm sight|
|US5010676||Mar 21, 1989||Apr 30, 1991||Cfpi Inc.||Hand guard for firearms|
|US5198600||May 20, 1992||Mar 30, 1993||Havis-Shields Equipment Corporation||Mount for rifle|
|US5522166||Dec 20, 1994||Jun 4, 1996||Martel; Phillip C.||Receiver cover having an integral scope mount|
|US5533292||Mar 18, 1994||Jul 9, 1996||Swan; Richard E.||Self-aligning flip-up sight|
|US5590484||Aug 17, 1995||Jan 7, 1997||Mooney, Deceased; Aurelius A.||Universal mount for rifle|
|US5694712||Nov 6, 1995||Dec 9, 1997||Skip M. Plonka||Dovetail scope mount system|
|US5826363||Jul 10, 1997||Oct 27, 1998||Knights Armament Company||Rail adapter handguard systems for firearms|
|US5941489||Sep 4, 1997||Aug 24, 1999||Fn Manufacturing Inc.||Reversible T-rail mountable to a Picatinny rail|
|US6381895||Nov 16, 2000||May 7, 2002||Lyle J. Keeney||Over barrel gas tube optical sight mount|
|US6453594||Oct 18, 2000||Sep 24, 2002||R/M Equipment, Inc.||Apparatus for attaching a supplemental device to a minimally altered host firearm|
|US6490822||Dec 10, 2001||Dec 10, 2002||Richard E. Swan||Modular sleeve|
|US6499245||Feb 1, 2002||Dec 31, 2002||Richard E. Swan||Modular sleeve yoke|
|US6508027||Oct 2, 2001||Jan 21, 2003||Surefire, Llc||Accessory mounts for firearms|
|US6606813||Mar 8, 2002||Aug 19, 2003||Exponent, Inc.||Weapon accessory mounting apparatus|
|US6618976||Dec 9, 2002||Sep 16, 2003||Richard E. Swan||Drop-in laser|
|US6655069||Dec 12, 2001||Dec 2, 2003||Surefire, Llc||Accessory mounts for shotguns and other firearms|
|US6779288 *||May 29, 2003||Aug 24, 2004||Surefire, Llc||Accessory mounts for firearms|
|US20010022044||Dec 22, 2000||Sep 20, 2001||Gerd Spinner||Mounting apparatus|
|US20010027620||Jun 14, 2001||Oct 11, 2001||Wooten Donald W.||Adjustable weapon auxiliary mount|
|US20040000083||Jul 1, 2002||Jan 1, 2004||Grant James Emmett||Multiple rail adapter|
|US20040035991||Aug 29, 2003||Feb 26, 2004||Wooten Donald W.||Adjustable weapon auxiliary mount|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7707762 *||Dec 7, 2005||May 4, 2010||Swan Richard E||Modular integrated rail assembly for firearms|
|US7770317 *||Jun 24, 2008||Aug 10, 2010||Jerome Benedict Tankersley||Handguard system with clamp device|
|US7941959||Mar 4, 2010||May 17, 2011||Swan Richard E||Modular integrated rail assembly for firearms|
|US8091265 *||Jan 10, 2008||Jan 10, 2012||Wilcox Industries Corp.||Floating rail system for firearm|
|US8146283 *||Dec 31, 2009||Apr 3, 2012||The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Navy||Weapon mounted adapter|
|US8201353||Jan 14, 2010||Jun 19, 2012||Swan Richard E||Modular hand guard assembly|
|US8316574||Jun 11, 2012||Nov 27, 2012||Swan Richard E||Modular hand guard and lighting assembly|
|US8429844||Jul 16, 2011||Apr 30, 2013||Cadex Inc.||Modular firearm stock system|
|US8448367||Jan 13, 2011||May 28, 2013||Samson Manufacturing Corporation||Modular fore-end rail/hand guard assembly system for firearms with selectable heat dissipation characteristics|
|US8522465||Dec 27, 2011||Sep 3, 2013||Ra Brands, L.L.C.||Modular firearm system|
|US8528246||Apr 16, 2012||Sep 10, 2013||Robert Saurman||Forward hand guard assembly for rifle|
|US8739448||Jan 14, 2011||Jun 3, 2014||Apex Machining Company, Inc.||Handguard systems for firearms|
|US8844185||Aug 27, 2012||Sep 30, 2014||Ra Brands, L.L.C.||Buttstock assembly|
|US9068801||Sep 6, 2013||Jun 30, 2015||Frederick William James Stecher, Jr.||Optics assembly with a base with a platform and removable and interchangeable modules|
|US9157696||Mar 10, 2014||Oct 13, 2015||Cadex, Inc.||Firearm rail assembly|
|US9194652||Feb 10, 2014||Nov 24, 2015||Esserman Matthew J||Modular accessory system for rifle|
|US9239203||Aug 15, 2013||Jan 19, 2016||Ra Brands, L.L.C.||Modular firearm stock system|
|US9255767 *||Feb 12, 2013||Feb 9, 2016||Colt Canada Corporation||Method and system for providing power and data to firearm accessories|
|US9255768||Aug 1, 2013||Feb 9, 2016||Colt Canada Corporation||Apparatus and method for powering and networking a rail of a firearm|
|US9255769||Aug 16, 2013||Feb 9, 2016||Colt Canada Corporation||Apparatus and method for powering and networking a rail of a firearm|
|US9404714 *||May 2, 2012||Aug 2, 2016||Colt's Manufacturing Ip Holding Company Llc||Modular rail system and firearm with modular rail system|
|US9410764||Aug 22, 2014||Aug 9, 2016||Ra Brands, L.L.C.||Buttstock assembly|
|US9470473||Jan 15, 2010||Oct 18, 2016||Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership||Rail for inductively powering firearm accessories|
|US9488446 *||Aug 12, 2014||Nov 8, 2016||Trent Zimmer||Multiple accessory gun mount|
|US9506708 *||Jan 9, 2014||Nov 29, 2016||Ashbury International Group, Inc.||Tactical firearm systems and methods of manufacturing same|
|US9557137 *||Aug 19, 2015||Jan 31, 2017||Beretta U. S. A. Corp.||Adjustable free-float forend/handguard mounting assembly|
|US20070199225 *||Feb 8, 2007||Aug 30, 2007||Haugen Michael D||Accessory Rail Assembly for Firearms|
|US20090038198 *||Aug 9, 2007||Feb 12, 2009||Herman Yu||Rail arrangement for firearm|
|US20100095575 *||Dec 7, 2005||Apr 22, 2010||Swan Richard E||Modular integrated rail assembly for firearms|
|US20100154274 *||Mar 5, 2010||Jun 24, 2010||Stone Jeffrey W||Receiver-stock connector|
|US20100307042 *||Dec 17, 2009||Dec 9, 2010||Michael Brent Jarboe||Modular firearm stock system|
|US20110100203 *||Dec 31, 2009||May 5, 2011||Genes Mark A||Weapon mounted adapter|
|US20110173865 *||Jan 15, 2010||Jul 21, 2011||Colt Canada Corporation||Rail for inductively powering firearm accessories|
|US20110192066 *||Jan 14, 2011||Aug 11, 2011||Apex Machining Company, Inc.||Handguard systems for firearms|
|US20120297970 *||May 2, 2012||Nov 29, 2012||Kevin Richard Langevin||Modular rail system and firearm with modular rail system|
|US20130152445 *||Feb 12, 2013||Jun 20, 2013||David Walter Compton||Rail for inductively powering firearm accessories|
|US20140076147 *||Sep 14, 2012||Mar 20, 2014||Mark C. LaRue||Tactical firearm having heat shielding properties and improved gas energized cartridge feeding|
|US20140076148 *||Sep 14, 2012||Mar 20, 2014||Mark C. LaRue||Tactical firearm having heat shielding properties and improved gas energized cartridge feeding|
|US20150040456 *||Aug 12, 2014||Feb 12, 2015||Trent Zimmer||Multiple accessory gun mount|
|US20160054096 *||Aug 19, 2015||Feb 25, 2016||Beretta Usa Corp||Adjustable free-float forend/handguard mounting assembly|
|USD704294||Sep 19, 2012||May 6, 2014||Ra Brands, L.L.C.||Buttstock|
|USD728722||Apr 29, 2013||May 5, 2015||Ashbury International Group, Inc.||Forend for modular tactical firearms|
|USD728723||Apr 29, 2013||May 5, 2015||Ashbury International Group, Inc.||Forend for modular tactical firearms|
|USD746396||Jun 10, 2014||Dec 29, 2015||CreativeArms, LLC||Semiautomatic firearm|
|USD746399||Jun 10, 2014||Dec 29, 2015||CreativeArms, LLC||Foregrip for a semiautomatic firearm|
|USD746400||Jun 10, 2014||Dec 29, 2015||CreativeArms, LLC||Receiver for a semiautomatic firearm|
|U.S. Classification||42/72, 42/105|
|International Classification||F41C27/06, F41G11/00, F41G1/38, F41G1/387|
|Jul 16, 2012||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Dec 2, 2012||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jan 22, 2013||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20121202